Hurricanes Keep Bill Young Busy with Solar-Power Disaster Relief
|FSEC's mobile PV trailer powers medical tent.
(Photo credit: Bill Young)
When Florida’s highways started jamming
up with people evacuating their homes as hurricanes Charley and
Frances roared toward the state, FSEC’s Bill Young was driving
in the other direction. Young, a Senior Research Engineer in FSEC’s
Photovoltaics (PV) and Distributed Generation Division, conducts
training programs on the use of photovoltaics and solar energy in
disaster response, recovery and mitigation.
Just days after Hurricane Charley blasted Florida’s
west coast, Bill joined disaster damage assessment teams in the
Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte areas. He had brought along his solar
power trailer, built for his disaster-relief training programs.
“I drove around looking for a disaster
medical assistance team working with FEMA, and found one in a tent
outside of Fawcett Memorial Hospital. Actually, I heard the sound
of their petroleum-fueled generator before I even saw them. We set
up [the PV equipment] at their medical tent, and it worked beautifully.
The trailer gave them the power they needed for their tent and allowed
them to treat injuries.”
A brief trip back to FSEC to replenish his supplies, then he was
off to Colorado to give a paper and conduct a workshop on solar
energy use in disasters at the World Renewable Energy Congress.
He got home just after Hurricane Frances hit the Central Florida
area and again joined in disaster relief efforts. <Full
Energy-Efficient Choices Can
Provide Post-Hurricane Benefits:
A Research Review
Following the onslaught of Florida’s record
four hurricanes, many homes need re-roofing and repair. While coping
with the aftermath of the hurricanes is difficult, FSEC buildings
research offers practical methods for homeowners who must make repairs.
|FSEC researches various types of roofing materials.
(Photo credit: Nick Waters)
When a house is exposed to hurricane forces, its
roof is most susceptible to damage. If you have to re-roof, consider
that construction quality matters with all roofing systems. Properly
installed hurricane straps, nails and screws are a must. Also, choosing
the right roof can result in a cooler home, reducing the energy
you use. FSEC research has shown that a white reflective tile or
a white metal roof can reduce space cooling by 20% or more.
FSEC research findings can be applied to
make repaired homes more energy-efficient and more resilient when
faced by future storms—even fairly comfortable in the event
of power outages. <Full
Director's Message: New Florida Standards Developed
|Philip Fairey, Interim Director
The Florida Solar Energy Center is working to
update its standards for testing, certifying and rating solar systems.
The Florida Statute that created FSEC in 1975 charges the Center
to “develop and promulgate standards for solar energy systems
manufactured or sold in the state based on the best currently available
information . . .” and to "establish criteria for testing
performance of solar energy systems. . . ." This statutory
charge is implemented through Chapter 6C7-8 of the Florida Administrative
Code (FAC) — the "FSEC rule."
Perhaps the most important proposed change to
FSEC’s standards is the inclusion of photovoltaic (PV) modules
and systems. For the first time, standards for testing and rating
PV modules and certifying PV systems are included. FSEC’s
PV standards are based on ISO/IEC 17025:2005, the international standard
for testing PV. During the past three years, FSEC developed and
tested the proposed standards in the form of “voluntary”
standards used to qualify systems for a series of Florida grant
programs that help reduce the cost of PV systems to program participants.
This past year, for example, these standards qualified PV systems
for installation on 29 secondary schools around the state (See SunSmart
Schools article in this issue.) Students and teachers will use the
monitored data from these systems as “living” examples
in their science and math classrooms through a special interactive
web site that FSEC created called EnergyWhiz.com.
The proposed standards also update Florida’s
solar thermal collector and system standards, allowing manufacturers
to more easily qualify collectors and systems under international
(ISO) standards and under national programs offered by the Solar
Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC). For example, under
the proposed standards, a manufacturer may choose to have its collectors
tested either through the ISO collector qualification standard or
the Florida qualification standard, allowing them to qualify their
solar collectors in expanded markets if they choose.
FSEC has also sought public input on the
proposed standards through a special web site called Florida Solar
Standards Online (www.fsec.ucf.edu/stds/).
This web site contains draft copies of the proposed standards along
with comments from the public and responses from FSEC. While it
is always difficult to get it “just right” in the development
of standards, it is clear from the public comments that FSEC is
on the right track.
Muradov Investigates Environmentally
Friendly Production of Hydrogen
Dr. Nazim Muradov of the Hydrogen R&D Division
is leading FSEC research on the technical and economical feasibility
of large-scale production of hydrogen and carbon by the catalytic
dissociation of natural gas. This novel approach to solving the
energy and environmental problems associated with producing hydrogen
from fossil fuels offers an environmentally friendly way to produce
hydrogen. Most industrial hydrogen production today is based on
the steam methane reforming process, a source of significant CO2
emissions (about 10 tons of CO2 per
ton of hydrogen produced).
Muradov points out, “It’s felt by
many energy experts that the huge quantities of CO2
emissions that come from using fossil fuels to produce hydrogen
might potentially diminish the environmental appeal of hydrogen
as an ecologically clean fuel.” The FSEC researchers have
been awarded a U.S. Patent for the development of the thermocatalytic
process for CO2-free production of
hydrogen and carbon from hydrocarbons. <Full
The Sun is Shining on Front
|Solar water heating installation in Ocala,
(Photo credit: John Harrison)
The phrase “Front Porch Florida” has
been in the news in recent months. The words conjure up visions
of friendly neighborhoods, and it is just this type of vision that
may have inspired the state’s initiative designed to provide
communities the means to take back their neighborhoods through revitalization
programs, making them once again exciting places to live, work,
and play. The Front Porch Florida program brings all segments of
a neighborhood together to improve the quality of life.
Front Porch neighborhoods have resident-driven
initiatives focusing on neighborhood improvement through education,
child care, crime prevention, adult care, job creation, family self-sufficiency,
housing, economic development and youth programs. However, the state’s
solar industry is adding its own contribution to the initiative,
called “Front Porch Sunshine.” This program provides
additional benefits for communities through the provision of solar
water heaters to qualifying residents. Front Porch Sunshine is targeting
20 underserved communities from Pensacola to Miami and extends the
environmental and economic benefits of solar energy to Floridians
with low incomes.
FSEC has joined with the Florida Solar Energy
Research & Education Foundation (FlaSEREF) under a contract
from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida
Energy Office to implement this program in the 20 designated Front
Porch Communities. These efforts have already installed 150 solar
water heaters on residences within Front Porch communities throughout
FSEC’s John Harrison, who oversees the technical
aspects of the Front Porch Sunshine program, developed and maintains
the program’s web site (http://fsec.ucf.edu/solar/projects/frontporch/frontporch.htm).
He also developed the technical request for quotations, specifications
and review of the bids.
Harrison worked with weatherization agencies
in finding potential sites and conducted site inspections in Front
Porch communities. He conducts inspections of the installed systems
and provides technical assistance to partner FlaSEREF. He notes
that “Front Porch Sunshine’s solar water heaters, coupled
with the weatherization improvements to the residences, have raised
the economic and comfort level of residents in Front Porch Florida
Florida SunSmart Schools Use
Ample Supply of Sunshine to Light Classrooms and Spark Imaginations
The Florida Solar Energy Center helps Florida
SunSmart Schools use their ample supply of free sunshine to light
classrooms and spark imaginations. The SunSmart Schools program,
a partnership between the Department of Environmental Protection/Florida
Energy Office (DEP/FEO) and the state’s electric utilities
and other industry partners, installs photovoltaic (solar electric)
systems in schools throughout the state.
Through this program thousands of Florida’s
students and teachers learn about solar energy’s role in meeting
the state’s electricity demand, promoting economic development
and providing energy security and a clean environment. FSEC also
provides students and teachers with an educational activity kit,
web-based learning activities and lesson plans that correlate with
the Sunshine State Standards for science and mathematics.
The SunSmart Schools pilot was funded at $750,000 from DEP/FEO,
which was used to subsidize the installation of PV systems on 29
Florida schools. <Full
T-Raissi and Dr. Cunping Huang Receive Innovative Technology Award
|Dr. Huang and Dr.
(Photo credit: Nick Waters)
Dr. Ali T-Raissi and Dr.
Cunping Huang of FSEC’s Hydrogen Research and Development
Division were honored with the Innovative Technology Award at the
15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Japan in July. They were
the only U.S. scientists honored at this prestigious international
conference. The award was for their work on “A New Solar Thermochemical
Water-Splitting Cycle for Hydrogen Production.”
A copy of the news release announcing this
award is located: http://securedb.fsec.ucf.edu/operation/press_display?pressid=2158.
Dhere: Brazilian Vacuum Society Emeritus Member
Dr. Nellkanth Dhere of the Photovoltaics and Distributed
Generation Division was honored with the Emeritus member designation
in the Brazilian Vacuum Society during the 25th Brazilian Congress
of Applications of Vacuum in Industry and Space conference in August.
He delivered the conference’s inaugural keynote address on
the research at FSEC’s PV Materials Lab and also delivered
a lecture on the establishment and formative years of the society.
Dhere was a Founder-President of the society from 1978-1980 and
served as editor of the Brazilian Journal of Applications of Vacuum
in Industry and Science from 1980-1987. While in Brazil for the
conference, he also taught a four-day course on Thin-Film Solar
Cells at the Technological Center of the State of Minas Gerais and
visited several other local universities to discuss academic collaboration
for degree programs and scientific collaboration for R&D projects
Block: Hydrogen Technologies — Facts and Myths
FSEC’s Director Emeritus, Dr. David Block, delivered
the keynote speech at the American Solar Energy Society’s
annual conference in July in Portland, OR. His talk, “Hydrogen
Technologies – Facts and Myths,” discussed the problems,
opportunities and challenges still to be faced in using hydrogen
in our society. Though he discussed these issues, he concluded that
“I am positive that we have to move forward on hydrogen. There
is simply no other answer.”
Read the speech
in pdf format.
View the news release announcing this speech: http://securedb.fsec.ucf.edu/operation/press_display?pressid=2157
and Distributed Generation Training
Staff members of the Photovoltaics and Distributed Generation
Division have been actively involved along
with other division members in three courses focusing on photovoltaics:
A week-long course called “Installing Photovoltaic Systems,”
a 50/50 mix of coursework and hands-on instruction teaching students
how to install grid-connected systems. The course will next be
offered November 1 - 5 at FSEC. FSEC instructor, Kevin Lynn, describes
“A major focus of our program is to help ensure that only
the highest quality PV systems are installed in the field. This
requires not only the highest quality components and a well designed
system, but also a competent contractor who can properly install
the system. Our week-long class is designed to provide contractors
with enough background information and hands-on experience in
order to reach that level of competence.”
Information is available at www.fsec.ucf.edu/pvt/education/index.htm.
- A one-day program for code officials that
teaches building/electrical inspectors how to properly examine
an installed PV system for safety and code compliance.
- A one-day program that serves as preparation
for the NABCEP (North American Board for Certified Energy Practitioners)
exam, a voluntary nationwide certification for PV installers.
Details are available at www.nabcep.org/.
Kevin Lynn taught this course to 30 students at the annual conference
of the American Solar Energy Society in Portland, OR, in June.
Attendees included PV distributors, utility representatives, manufacturers
and others from non-profit organizations, and were from 13 different
FSEC has been accredited by the Institute for
Sustainable Power (ISP) to train PV installers. ISP is a non-profit
organization created in 1996 to improve the quality of renewable
and sustainable energy projects and improve the quality of workforce
development for sustainable, local jobs. It accredits training programs
worldwide to ensure that students taking these programs will have
the knowledge, skills, experience and capability to provide the
expected services. Information is available at www.ispq.org/.
NEWS FROM AROUND THE U.S.
California Governor Announces
Program to Bring Photovoltaic Systems to
One Million Homes
On August 20, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
announced a statewide program to install photovoltaic systems on
one million new and existing homes by 2017 that “will establish
California as a world leader in solar technology.”
The program, which will provide energy savings
during peak demand periods while diversifying California’s
energy portfolio, is expected to save 2700 megawatts of peaking
power and offset more than 50 million tons of CO2
– the annual equivalent emission of 400,000 vehicles.
By 2008, new home builders in California will
be required to offer solar panels as an option in all subdivisions
with 25 or more homes and give buyers an estimate of the costs and
savings they will get from the system. The California Energy Commission
will offer consumers rebates to use photovoltaics on their homes,
and the Public Utilities Commission will develop time-of-use pricing
plans for customers so that they can sell excess electricity back
to the grid.
To fund the program, the California legislature
approved $200 million, with another $30 million coming from the
Public Goods Charge that was established in 2001.
Ford Fuel Cell Vehicles in Florida
Orlando, Florida, will be one of the sites for
a fleet of fuel-cell-powered Ford Focus sedans to be deployed in
five cities. Ford Motor Company made the announcement recently as
it celebrated the production of the first fuel-cell-powered Ford
Focus sedan. The Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) features a fuel cell
stack from Ballard Power Systems, a nickel metal hydride battery
pack, and a regenerative braking system that uses brake-by-wire
Ford is building an evaluation fleet of Focus
FCVs for demonstration programs in Orlando, Sacramento, California
and Taylor, Michigan, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's
Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation
Project. Vancouver, British Columbia, and Berlin, Germany, will
also have fleets of Focus FCVs. The vehicles are part of initiatives
to promote development of hydrogen-based technologies
Ford is working with BP to build a network of
hydrogen fueling stations in these cities to support the vehicles.
Some BP stations will use near-term hydrogen production technologies,
such as reforming natural gas, while others will generate hydrogen
from renewable energy resources
As Ford rolls out its Focus FCV, a number
of other automakers continue the development of their fuel cell
vehicles. These include DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Honda,
Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.